Both of the City of Buffalo's St. Patrick's Day parades, scheduled to run this weekend, have been canceled in response to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns.
The announcement was highly anticipated and City Hall sources had confirmed the decision prior to Mayor Brown's formal announcement, which came as he and members of the United Irish American Association gathered for the annual raising of the Irish flag in Niagara Square.
"Based on the recommendations of the Erie County Health Department, in keeping with their strategy as they've described it to us - social distancing - with an abundance of caution, the United Irish American Association has canceled the St. Patrick's Day Parade for this Sunday on Delaware Avenue," said Brigid Knott of the United Irish-American Association of Erie County, the organizers of the Delaware Avenue event.
Mayor Brown credited both Knott's organization and the Valley Community Association, which organizes the Old First Ward parade, for making what he called a difficult decision, but one he says is the correct one.
"We are taking the proper precautions and steps in our community to protect the health and safety of our residents," Brown said. "And it's important to have organizations in our community that we can partner with very closely, that make good decisions at times like this to protect the health and safety of our residents."
The parades would have faced cancellation later in the day. Shortly after the mayor confirmed the parades were called off, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a ban on all public gatherings of 500 or more people.